Home Riot Creative Contest 2017 - Illustration

[Riot Creative Contest 2017] Tiki Taliyah

Here's my favorite part of the piece even though I wasn't able to finish (just in case anybody looks at this again LOL) 


Hello everyone!
I plan on designing and illustrating "Tiki Taliyah." I'll be going through my thought process along with some design/illustration progress.

I started by collecting refs of Taliyah along with pieces of Polynesian culture.

1. Collage of Taliyah references

2. Collage of reference photos from Polynesian culture


  • nepheloyd
    When I designed the skin, I made sure not to look at any photos of characters like Moana so they wouldn't work their way into my design. My first idea for the skin was to use a giant lei as her scarf and I basically built the rest of her outfit off of that. I also included foot wrappings for support, but after I showed the design to my Hawaiian friend she pointed out that dancers/surfers don't wear anything on their feet and also pointed me to doing some research on tattoos because they have significance for shapes/genders in Polynesian culture.

    I used this website to learn about the tattoos, I'd recommend checking it out if you're interested because it's very interesting!

    After polishing up the design a little bit, I came up with these two. The major difference is including a skirt or no skirt. I asked several people which one they preferred and a majority chose the version with the skirt. Initially, I thought that it would be too busy for a skin but after coloring I think it does look more lively and gives the skin more character.

  • nepheloyd
    I began designing with the image of a giant lei for Taliyah's scarf in mind. After building the design around that somewhat, I checked in with a Hawaiian friend and asked her to review what I had come up with. She gave me a lot of great advice! Initially, I had Taliyah wearing foot wraps for support but my friend pointed out that dancers/surfers don't have footwear, and that I should do research on Polynesian tattoo culture as it has great significance depending on the gender and symbol.
    After some altering, I ended up coming with these two designs. One version has a skirt and the other one does not. I asked several people which version they preferred and most chose the first one. I actually wanted to go with the second because I thought that the version including the skirt looked too busy, but after coloring, I realize that it actually gives the skin more character and liveliness.

  • nepheloyd
    Here she is after coloring! I made the choice to go with vivid reds/oranges/yellows because it set the skin apart from her other ones. Her abilities will all include throwing/creating tiki totems in some form or fashion, I'd like to expand on it but I don't know if I have enough time to draw it out since I just finished concepting today and I need to do the splash art in 3 days LOL

  • nepheloyd
    I'm basically just uploading what I have at this point LOL
    Here's the sketch so far for Taliyah, I plan on having 2 more backup dancers in the background to fill it out! I also need to figure out how perspective grids on Photoshop work.....

    Really wish I had time to do thumbnails and stuff but this will have to do for now! I really like how I drew her face :smile:

  • nepheloyd
    OK, done with the base colors!! Dumping a few more refs here as well :smiley:

    I'm having a little bit of trouble with defining Taliyah from the background, but hopefully the shading will fix that!!

  • nepheloyd
    Here I am desperately trying to figure out how to finish it in the next 24 hours LOL 

    Looks like I won't have time to finish the entire piece but I'll be finishing a small snippet for my portfolio today!! Good luck to all of the other entries :smile:

    I learned a lot from this piece, mainly that I have a lot of practice to do!! But I also learned that using actual references from other pieces and real life (I took a lot of pictures of my hands and arms) is extremely helpful in making your drawing look more realistic!
  • OmNomNaomi
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    OmNomNaomi triangle
    I know it's WAYYYY too late but i thought i'd add this :3 maybe she can have multicolored flowers instead of just yellow ones >w< including the flowers and colors of them that they use in the reference outfits~ 
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